Deprived of Adolescence
(Photo project on early marriages in Georgia).
Georgia has one of the highest rates in europe for early marriages.
Marriages occur mainly in Kakheti and Adjara regions, it is mostly common among religious and ethnic minorities. In villages large number of girls drop out of school to be married.
When I was 12 years old, I remember my classmate got married, I didn’t understand what that meant, but I felt disturbed. I didn’t see her after that, years to come.
The first photograph I showed to the Georgian public was a photo that demonstrated a seventeen-year old at her wedding, having only met her soon–to–be husband, in his mid twenties, on the day of their engagement. As tears dropped from her eyes, dancing in front of her house, the dance demonstrated a farewell to her family, before the wedding ceremony. A situation far too real across Georgia, in which girls — too young to comprehend marriage — are sent off by families to be wed with little–to–no schooling, and will never have the opportunity, again, to continue any form of formal education.
Whence placing this photograph on social media, the response was big, hitting both ends of the spectrum. The greatest opposers of the work were ethnic minority groups, demanding the photo be taken down. Yet, the photo had created: a framework or platform for citizens to comment and debate on the issue at hand.